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Face Protector

Matt Gilbert

they used to call it. As if not saying

moisturiser, might save a fragile man

from the embarrassment of vanity.

Branded stark, in black & white,
bold graphic strokes swirled around

the name, suggestive of the elixir inside.

Not yet employed, I liked to own a hint

of style, shored up tubes of comfort,

in rows next to the bathroom window.

Ready to be leisurely admired alongside

my as yet unlined skin, before it emerged

back into the world each morning.

Now every hurried mirror glimpse

is filled with vapour trails. Criss-cross

tales, debossed on the grey sky of face

– and I doubt that preparation ever

really worked, but at the time,

it felt like something.

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